All for the arts

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS -

- ADVERTISER, Thurs­day, Septem­ber 13, 2018 What’s your job? Di­rec­tor of fi­nance at Wodonga TAFE and pres­i­dent of the Yackan­dan­dah Folk Fes­ti­val where the com­mit­tee mem­bers are vol­un­teers.

What brought you to the Yackan­dan­dah Folk Fes­ti­val role?

Com­ment­ing about a lack of food on the fes­ti­val’s Fri­day night ses­sion 14 years ago, I was asked to help or­gan­ise the cater­ing. I worked at the Border Mail at the time and ended up look­ing af­ter me­dia and ad­ver­tis­ing too, fol­lowed by the artis­tic di­rec­tor role that led me to be­com­ing the fes­ti­val’s pres­i­dent. What do you love about your job? Every­thing. Work­ing in an event which is so ben­e­fi­cial to the whole com­mu­nity fi­nan­cially and cul­tur­ally is such a stim­u­lat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The vol­un­teer com­mit­tee is an amaz­ing group and fun to be around de­spite the count­less hours in­volved. To think that a small group can bring over 2500 peo­ple to our lit­tle vil­lage for three days and in that time feed, ac­com­mo­date and en­ter­tain them all. The com­mu­nity joins in and from a base of 900 peo­ple we have more than 300 of them vol­un­teer to work with the fes­ti­val, the school com­mu­nity din­ner, or­gan­ise park­ing, as­sist with camp­ing, bil­let our per­form­ers, and run their fundrais­ing stalls at the Sun­day mar­ket. Ev­ery com- mu­nity group is in­volved in some way. Our vis­i­tors al­ways com­ment on how wel­come they are made to feel with many re­turn­ing later for a hol­i­day. Deal­ing with the per­form­ers is en­joy­able too. Each year we have 45 groups which can be up to 200 peo­ple join us to en­ter­tain all of our tick­ets hold­ers. The rep­u­ta­tion of our fes­ti­val has spread and we at­tract per­form­ers from ev­ery Aus­tralian state and all over the world. Each year we re­ceive around 400 ap­pli­ca­tions from per­form­ers and the most dif­fi­cult task is re­duc­ing the list down to the 45 suc­cess­ful acts. Re­view­ing the per­form­ers each year high­lights the huge tal­ent that we have in this coun­try. What do you do in the com­mu­nity? Work with the folk fes­ti­val and sup­port lo­cal cafes by drink­ing lots of cof­fee.

What’s the most im­por­tant cur­rent com­mu­nity is­sue for you?

Yackan­dan­dah has worked very hard over the years to de­velop ex­cel­lent ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties and is blessed with a vi­brant cre­ative and arts com­mu­nity. Re­cent de­vel­op­ment has seen an in­flux of new fam­i­lies and an in­crease in the num­ber of young peo­ple. Sus­tain­able growth and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues are the cur­rent key mat­ters.

What would you do to solve, change or im­prove that sit­u­a­tion?

Keep do­ing what we are do­ing. The fes­ti­val green team con­tin­ues to re­duce waste and the fes­ti­val is now more than 200 per cent re­new­able in power gen­er­a­tion. The fes­ti­val is also work­ing closely with To­tally Re­new­able Yackan­dan­dah (TRY) with the ob­jec­tive of hav­ing the vil­lage 100 per cent re­new­able by 2020.

What’s the most im­por­tant cur­rent world is­sue for you?

Lack of lead­er­ship. World­wide we have cor­rup-

If the per­son you’d most like to meet came to Indigo, or was al­ready here, who would that be and what would you show them?

Con­fu­cius. We would sit in the main street of Yackan­dan­dah. Why would you do that? To take in the his­tory, seren­ity, sen­sa­tional com­mu­nity, the beauty of the sur­rounds and to ab­sorb heaven on a stick. There has to be a proverb in there some­where. What book are you read­ing? No time to read. Lis­ten­ing my way through 400 per­former ap­pli­ca­tions for the 2019 fes­ti­val.

COM­MU­NITY PAS­SION: Yackan­dan­dah’s Chris Smith loves work­ing with vol­un­teers for the vil­lage’s an­nual Folk Fes­ti­val which has fi­nan­cial and cul­tural ben­e­fits for the com­mu­nity. tion, greed, wars and lies, and that is just the politi­cians. What ex­am­ple is be­ing set for our young peo­ple?

CHRIS Smith was born in Mel­bourne and moved to Yackan­dan­dah 24 years ago to es­cape the city rat race.

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